By Matthew Jaber Stiffler, The Arab American National Museum
After a month-long stint in Midtown Detroit, StoryCorps wrapped up its Michigan visit by spending two days in Dearborn. With the beautiful Islamic Center of America as a backdrop, the StoryCorps MobileBooth welcomed close to 30 Dearborn residents into its custom-fitted Airstream trailer to record some of the amazing stories that the Arab American community has to offer. StoryCorps is a nationally-known non-profit whose mission is to “provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.” They have already recorded more than 40,000 interviews, and are regularly featured on National Public Radio.
The Arab American National Museum (AANM), thanks to WDET 101.9 FM, partnered with the Islamic Center of America and the Yemeni American News to capture diverse voices from our community on August 10-11, 2012. We invited participants to sign up for hour-long time slots, bring a close friend or family member, and get ready to share stories about living in Dearborn, their work, their hobbies, or anything they were motivated to share. We tried to reach many facets of our diverse community. Jaber Saad and Ali Nasrallah, two college students from Dearborn, shared stories about growing up in the city. Renee Ahee and her sister Rita reminisced about their mother. Brothers Allen and Ron Amen, lifelong Dearborn residents, documented the Arab American community’s struggle against the City of Dearborn’s “urban renewal” in the 1960s and 1970s.
The recordings will be archived in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and will also be housed in the archives at the AANM. The AANM will periodically edit the stories and share them through podcasts or through its online exhibit on Arab stereotypes, where we have already uploaded some of our previous StoryCorps recordings.
The AANM is always looking to capture interesting stories from our community nationwide. If you have a great story to share, please contact Matthew Jaber Stiffler at email@example.com.